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What Happens at Fraternity and Sorority Initiation Ceremonies

Sorority InitiationThis guest post provided by a source who has requested anonymity as they expose one of the most secretive parts of Greek collegiate lifestyle.

After experiencing the new member process, often times fraternity and sorority pledges worry about what lies ahead at the initiation ceremony.

The purpose of initiation is to teach the new members about the significance behind all the organization’s symbols, Greek letters, motto, rituals, etc. It is an explanation of everything incorporated to the organization, followed by a pledging of the members commitment to the organization, its current, past and future members of unwavering friendship, and dedication to the organization’s social, scholastic and moral growth. After a member professes their vows (depending on the organization, vows are recited through a motto or creed, signed in a book, sung through ritual songs, or proven by an activity) the pledge becomes an active member.

The ritual ceremony is universally a huge secret (with the exception of the fraternity Delta Upsilon who has an open initiation), and therefore is different for all organizations. Nationally, however, every initiation is the same within an organization. For example, XYZ sorority at the University of Texas has the exact same initiation as XYZ at New York University, but ABC at the University of Texas does not have the same initiation as XYZ. Since each initiation is the same, the ceremony becomes the binding connection that interlocks each member to the national organization. Often times complete strangers (who find out they’re in the same national organization) will become instant friends for this reason, already having a common bond. Read the rest of this entry »



What to Wear to Sorority Rush

With fall sorority rush just around the corner, along with back to school shopping, many girls are wondering what to wear during the recruitment process.

Here are some college fashion tips I have found to hold tried and true throughout the years:

What to wear to sorority recruitment

What TO wear to sorority recruitment

Begin by looking at your school’s Greek Life website, because sometimes the days of recruitment (especially Panhellenic) are themed and any dress codes for recruitment parties are announced on their websites. You’ll want to dress comfortably, as you’re going to need all of your internal confidence. It can be hard to feel self-assured on the inside when you’re uncomfortable on the outside.

Try to subtly stand out from the crowd. Choose a memorable piece of jewelry or interesting color, it will make the members remember you more. With so many girls, some can get lost in the shuffle. Members tend to remember “the brunette with the black bow head band” over plain Janes. Don’t try too hard though, you want want to appear to mesh well into their organization. Read the rest of this entry »



27 Frightening and Disgusting Fraternity and Sorority Hazing Tactics

Going through the process of fraternity recruitment and sorority recruitment can be intimidating enough, the idea of “selling yourself” to a group of daunting peers in hopes of social acceptance and life long, unwavering friendship is frightening, then add in the fact that you’re probably a college freshman and have just left home, your pets, your friends and your family, the situation makes me nervous just remembering it.

And yes, hazing does still happen with in the Greek community. Within any culture, traditions will evolve and intensify as the society grows; such is the case with hazing. Hazing started as a way for new members of the Greek organizations to prove their loyalty to the organization they wished to join. With exclusivity of membership, officers in the organizations could request or demand that prospective members prove that they wanted to be apart of the club so badly that they would never tell its secrets, and that they would be an active and contributing member.

Over the years, hazing turned from mere favors (such as delivering requested things on campus, washing member’s cars, baking sweets for members, serenades, etc.) to more intensified requests (buying things for members, doing homework for members, cleaning common rooms of chapter houses, etc.).

Then, eventually, hazing took a dangerous turn when members realized that belittling, embarrassing, and mentally and physically breaking down pledges was an easier way to ensure that only the mentally and physically strongest of the potential new members made it through their recruitment process.

Here is a list of some of the worst hazing cases, viewer discretion is advised: Read the rest of this entry »



30 College Date Party Ideas for a Can’t-Miss Event

One of the most well-known Greek life traditions is the weekly or bi-weekly mixer. A mixer, also known as a social or date party, is when a fraternity invites a sorority to an event just for the two organizations. A private mass date, if you can imagine. There’s definitely a lot of booze and dancing involved.

Normally mixers are parties held at the fraternity house, private events at local bars, comedy clubs, movie theaters, restaurants, sporting events, tailgates, etc. Sometimes they can be lavish events at country clubs, or simple cheap BBQ’s in a park.

Often times the fraternity and sorority will theme their mixers and members will come dressed to the theme. It’s a great way to increase excitement and participation for the event.

If you are planning a mixer here are some great theme ideas:

    • “I’m glad I’m not…”: Dress as something you are not (cheerleader, pregnant, the Joker, a freshman, a fan from an opposing sports team, a nerd, etc.).
    • 80’s prom: Big hair, big sleeves and cheesy music are all you need.
    • Above Par: You’ll need golfing attire like argyle and tweed, and monogrammed golf tees.
    • Anything but Clothes: Dress in anything but clothes (Twister board, a picnic blanket, caution tape, a cardboard box, inner-tube with flippers, etc.).
    • Be my Date: Dress as a date on the calendar (Christmas, Cinco de Mayo, Mardi Gras, Saint Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, Halloween, etc.)
    • Board Shorts & Bikinis: A luau-themed party will be complete with tropical drinks and fresh, bright flowers.
    • Celebrity: Spin this a number of ways – come as your favorite celebrity, have a red carpet Oscar-esque party, or even create the scene for your own tabloid debacle.
    • Come as You are: Last minute social notice, you go in literally what you are wearing when you find out about the event.
    • Cops and Robbers: Have fun dressed as good guys and bad guys, just don’t have the real cops called!
    • Cowboys and Indians: This wild-west theme can include a poker table, sexy fringe and generous portions of good barbecue!

Wild West College Part

  • Decades: Dress as a stylish person from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, or ’90s.
  • Dudes and Dolls: You and your date can dress like a well-known doll (Barbie and Ken, Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, action heroes, Cabbage Patch Kids, etc.).
  • Famous Couples: Go as far back as the romantic Romeo and Juliet, or as recent as the train-wreck Tiger and Elin.
  • Graffiti: Everyone wears white shirts, then have plenty of markers on hand to decorate one another. Ties in well with the 80’s theme!
  • Kentucky Derby: Big, fancy hats, a crisp seersucker suit with a bright bow tie, and a supply of mint juleps will set the scene for this Southern-inspired party.
  • Kindergarten: Recreate your look from the first day of kindergarten, serve finger foods, spiked juice boxes, and try silly games like hopscotch or kickball.
  • Letter S: Build your party around the letter S. Serve sandwiches and shiraz, play sixty’s music or bands that start with S, and dress like something that starts with the letter s, like a sailor, singer, softball player, snowman, Snoopy, shacker, etc.). This can apply to any letter.
  • Masquerade: The ultimate in classic dress-up! Have everyone bring a mask, or have the supplies on hand to make them at the party.
  • MTV: A true rock-star, music video-themed party where everyone’s favorite songs are played and they arrive dressed like MTV stars like Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, etc.).
  • Nautical and Nice: Take a page from the Hamptons and wear nautical attire. That’s boat shoes, plaid shorts and bright Polos for the guys, and bold navy and white stripes against soft khaki shorts for the girls. A crab boil is the perfect dinner to tie the theme together.
  • Neon colors: A perfect excuse to buy glow sticks, black lights, and really tacky lipstick!
  • Olympics: Each couple can represent a different country, play light-hearted games like Bocce, horseshoes, or even volleyball, and serve an array of international cuisine. The torch is a must!
  • Pajama Jam: Sexy or comfy, everyone arrives in their favorite PJs for a cozy party. Have plenty of popcorn and show a movie outside.
  • Peace and Love: Throw-back to the groovy 60’s with a tie-dye or boho look.
  • Red Light, Green Light: If you’re single you wear green, if you’re in a relationship you wear red, if “it’s complicated” you wear yellow.
  • Speak Easy: A sexy, smokey cabaret-themed party inspired by the roaring 20’s.
  • Superhero: Dress like as your favorite comic book or action movie star, like Batman, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, SpongeBob SquarePants, Captain Planet, etc.).
  • Ties and Tiaras: This black-tie event will show everyone you really can clean-up from your typical campus look.
  • Toga Party: The standard fraternity party, this is a throwback to your Greek roots.
  • What Used to be Cool: Trends from the past like scrunchies, spandex, acid wash jeans, flannel and worker boots, poodle skirts and leather jackets… you get the idea.

If you’ve enjoyed a really creatively-themed party, let us know about it in the comments below!



Fraternity and Sorority Paddles

Image via Greek Gear

Image via Greek Gear

As the Director of Greek Relations for EDUInReview.com, I often receive questions requesting clarification about Greek life traditions.

One of the most popular traditions within the Greek community is the fraternity and sorority paddle.

Normally created during the pledge period, a member of the Greek organization will make a paddle for a superior member, most commonly, their big brother or sister in the organization. Oftentimes the entire pledge class will create a paddle for the pledge master or the organization as a whole.

Paddles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, traditional or unique, but almost always are made of wood. Creative and inventive members will even carve the wooden paddles themselves. My paddles were purchased from the University of Central Florida’s bookstore and from an online boutique.

Read the rest of this entry »



Tips for Sorority Recruitment

Entering the Greek system and joining a sorority is a rite of passage for many college women, whether continuing a family legacy or creating a lifestyle that promotes friendship, academic accountability and socializing.sorority girls

Don’t take the decision lightly though. Everything from determining if sorority life is ideal for you to choosing a house in which you’ll fit are important points to consider. This guide can provide some insight from sorority alumni on getting through sorority rush (the recruitment week), determining which house is best for you, and even leave you with some questions you’ll need to answer.

One of the first things you should do is determine if being a part of a sorority is the best choice for you. And that’s a decision only you can make. Read the rest of this entry »



Top 20 College Sorority Names

Being a part of a Greek organization such as a sorority is often the first order of business for life on campus for college freshman. Typically a rush week just prior or at the start of the fall semester makes it possible for women to visit each sorority house on campus, before an invitation is extended to join one house or another. These sororities can be a major part of a student’s college career, being a source of social activities, cultivating relationships and keeping students accountable for their academic performance.

Let’s take a look at some of the sorority nicknames that can help a college freshman learn their way around the Greek system using the Greek alphabet.


Alpha Chi Omega

Founded 1885 on the Depauw University campus in Greencastle, IN by the dean of the music school, in an effort to cultivate a music culture for women. The Alpha Chis support charities for domestic violence, and famous alumnae include former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Bachelorette Trista Rehn Sutter.

Alpha Phi

Alpha Phi was the fourth Greek organization ever founded for women, in 1872 at Syracuse University. The sorority promotes sisterhood and character with philanthropic efforts focused on cardiac care and research. Famous alumnae include actress Jeri Ryan and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey.


Chi Omega

The Chi Omega sorority was founded at the University of Arkansas in 1895, with the purpose of promoting friendship, scholarship, campus socializing and personal and career development. The Chi-O women support the Make-A-Wish Foundation and is currently the nation’s largest sorority. Celebrity alumnae include actress Lucy Liu and Tamira Cole, the sorority’s first black member and 2009 Miss Black Kentucky.


Delta Delta Delta

Not feeling as though they fit in with the other sororities at Boston University, four women began Delta Delta Delta in 1888. Their goal was for the women to be “kind alike to all” and to “think more of inner self and character than of personal appearance.” The Tri-Delts support children’s cancer charities, namely St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. In 1992, a famous SNL skit made the sorority a household name. Celebrity alumnae include actress Elizabeth Banks and CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric.


Delta Gamma

In 1873 at the Lewis School for Girls, Delta Gamma began with a purpose of helping women strive for excellence. The sorority has historical ties with the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. The philanthropic efforts of the DGs is focused on Service for Sight, matching their motto to “Do Good.” Celebrity alumnae of Delta Gamma include actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and ESPN Sports Reporter Jill Arrington.


Delta Zeta

Delta Zeta was founded at Miami University in Ohio in 1902 by six women. This was the same year that women were given status to enroll as full-time students at Miami University. Their purpose was to cultivate friendship, knowledge, social culture and unity. The Delta Zeta women support organizations for the hearing or speech impaired. Famous alumnae include The View co-host Joy Behar and “Brady Bunch mom” Florence Henderson.


Kappa Delta

The sorority was founded in 1897 at the State Female Normal School, now Longwood University, by four women aged 15 to 23. Their objective was to perpetuate friendship, fellowship and sisterly love. The Kappa Deltas support four organizations — Girl Scouts, Prevent Child Abuse America, Children’s Hospital of Richmond, Virginia and Orthopaedic Research Awards. Famous Kappa Delta alumnae include former Miss USA and actress Ali Landry and the Army’s first three-star general Claudia Kennedy.


Kappa Kappa Gamma

The KKG sorority was founded at Monmouth College in 1870 by six women. It remains one of the oldest and largest active Greek organizations. The principle ideals set forth by the founding women were friendship, scholarship and leadership. The official philanthropy of Kappa Kappa Gamma is Reading is Fundamental. Famous Kappa alumnae include actresses Ashley Judd and Sophia Bush.


Pi Beta Phi

The Pi Beta Phi sorority was also founded at Monmouth College in 1867 by a group of women who wanted their own version of the men’s secret societies. The Pi Phis philanthropic efforts focus on literacy organizations like Champions Are Readers. Celebrity alumnae include actress Jennifer Garner and former First Lady Barbara Bush.


Zeta Tau Alpha

The State Female Normal School, now Longwood University, also produced the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Founded in 1898 by nine women pursuing education degrees with the purpose of promoting friendship and happiness that would help build a purer womanhood. The Zetas philanthropic work benefits breast cancer awareness, with their national charity being The Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Famous ZTA alumnae include ESPN reporter Erin Andrews and President Gerald Ford’s daughter Susan Ford Bales.

Also see our list of Famous Sorority Sisters.



Miami University’s Delta Delta Delta Chapter Suspended

It was announced that the Delta Beta chapter of the Delta Delta Delta women’s fraternity will be closing its doors at Miami University in Ohio, with no opportunity to return until 2011. According to a story published on the fraternity’s national site, reports of hazing were made in early February and the organization worked closely with university officials to conduct a thorough investigation. They soon concluded that the hazing incident was against both Miami Student Code of Conduct and Tri Delta policy.tri delta logo

“We are deeply disappointed in the choices made by several members of our chapter at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio last month,” said Jackye Clark, President of Delta Delta Delta Fraternity. “This decision is made with a heavy heart, as our chapter at Miami University has enjoyed an uninterrupted 98-year span and positive track record with its host institution until now.”

Those members violating Tri Delta conduct policy face permanent removal from the organization, and those in good-standing may opt to become an unaffiliated collegiate member.



Wordless Wednesday: Going Greek?

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